Three-quarters (77 percent) of evangelicals 65 and older say they support the existence, security and prosperity of Israel. That drops to 58 percent among younger evangelicals, those 18 to 34.
Four in 10 younger evangelicals (41 percent) have no strong views about Israel.
Fewer younger evangelicals (58 percent) have an overall positive perception of Israel than older evangelicals (76 percent). And they are less sure Israel’s rebirth in 1948 was a good thing.
“For the most part, younger evangelicals are indifferent about Israel,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.
LifeWay Research asked 2,002 Americans with evangelical beliefs about a wide range of issues involving Israel – from its place in the Bible to its treatment of Palestinians. The survey focused on Americans with evangelical beliefs rather than self-identified evangelicals.
Overall, this group was supportive of Israel.
Sixty-seven percent have a positive view of the nation. Nine percent have a negative view. Twenty-four percent are not sure.
One-fourth (24 percent) support the existence, security and prosperity of Israel no matter what Israel does. Forty-two percent support Israel but not everything Israel does. One percent do not support Israel. Thirty-two percent have no strong views about Israel.
Few (14 percent) agree when asked whether Israel’s rebirth was an injustice to Arabs in the Middle East. Fifty percent disagree. Thirty-six percent are not sure.
Modern Israel’s birth & policies
About a quarter (22 percent) say modern Israel has been unfair to Palestinians. Forty-one percent disagree. Thirty-seven percent are not sure.
Younger evangelicals (19 percent) are more likely to see the rebirth of Israel as an injustice. Only 34 percent disagree. Forty-seven percent are not sure.
Among older evangelicals, 9 percent see the rebirth of Israel as an injustice, while 62 percent disagree. Twenty-eight percent are not certain.
Older evangelicals (49 percent) are more likely to disagree that Israel has been unfair to Palestinians. Young evangelicals (32 percent) are less likely.
Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, which helped underwrite the survey, said he was glad to see that most evangelicals support Israel.
Still, he found the decline of support among younger evangelical believers worrisome.
“I am concerned for the obvious decline in support for Israel among millennial followers of Jesus, who either do not know what they believe or do not seem to care,” Glaser said.
The Bible & Israel
Most evangelical believers surveyed by LifeWay Research say faith shapes their views on Israel.
Three-quarters (76 percent) say Christians should support the right of the Jewish people to live in the sovereign state of Israel. Five percent disagree. Twenty percent are not sure.
Sixty-nine percent say the Jewish people have a historic right to the land of Israel. Six percent disagree. Twenty-five percent are not sure.
Evangelical believers are uncertain how to resolve differences between Israelis and Palestinians. A quarter (23 percent) say Israel should sign a treaty allowing Palestinians to have a sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza. Thirty-one percent disagree. Forty-six percent are unsure.
Six in 10 (59 percent) say Christians should do more to love and care for Palestinians. Sixteen percent disagree. Twenty-five percent are not sure.
Among younger evangelicals, two-thirds say Christians need to do more to care for Palestinians. That drops to 54 percent among those 65 and older.
Most evangelical believers (73 percent) agree they are concerned for the safety of Christians in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Five percent disagree. Twenty-two percent are not certain.
Evangelicals are certain God wants the State of Israel to exist, McConnell noted, but they think Christian love should include Palestinian people.
“They believe God wants Israel to be there,” he said, “but they also think God cares how the nation of Israel acts.”